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Volunteering 2015 - Time to wake up!

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I've been involved with volunteering now as a volunteer and volunteer manager for almost 35 years! As the year draws to an end I like to look at the state of volunteering. This year I am not greatly comforted by what I see but there are hopeful signs. The big topic that I think that will define volunteering in 2015 will be the definition of volunteering
The definition of Volunteering
“Volunteering is an activity performed in the not for profit sector only.” This is part of the definition of volunteering by Volunteering Australia. This definition is wrong. It is an insult to thousands of volunteers in Australia who still volunteer for organizations that have been privatized such as hospitals, nursing homes etc. and it even questions publicly owned institutions like organizations owned by government. I was recently at the IAVE conference on volunteering also known as the world conference on volunteering. I participated in a great workshop on the “definition of volunteering” I believ…

Volunteer Managers: We’re still a little bit too Fluffy!

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I've been to many workshops and conferences on Volunteer Management over the last 17 years. One that still stands out in my memory was a presentation by Martin J Cowling. My memory of it may not be precise but he showed a photo of what he felt many people thought of Volunteering. It was a big Teddy Bear.  Nice, fluffy, feel good and ever so cuddly. At the time it hit the target straight in the bull’s eye!
Unfortunately I think volunteering is thought of like that today. Nice, comfy, feel good emotions abound when people think of volunteering. Volunteers are the Lifeblood of society. Lovely volunteers. We couldn’t do it without your big hearts. Bleh!
Jayne Cravens, a Volunteer management consultant among many other talents has rallied against the fluffy language in which we describe volunteers and volunteering. She’s even warned us about International Volunteer Managers Day turning into something similar.
I recently read a blog on the difficulty Volunteer Managers had in firing a…

Tears for Volunteers

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I've been to six funerals this year. All volunteers who were part of our team. Today I was at one of them. Tony (not his real name) volunteered for 18 months. At his initial interview he surprised me. He revealed that he had terminal cancer and that he wanted to do positive things with the rest of his life and volunteer. I later learnt that he had been a positive guy most of his life. His spirit always shone through. Always smiling. Always kind. Tony actually inspired me to do Movember last year. I raised some money for men’s cancer such as prostrate. Today I shed a tear, no; I shared a few at Tony’s service. His volunteering was mentioned in the Eulogy, pictures of him in his volunteer uniform flashed up on a screen with other memories of his life.
Afterwards I stood near a field near where the service took place. Kangaroos stood and watched me. Their Joeys were sneaking peeks at me from their pouches. Grey clouds rolled across a vast sky and a gentle breeze kept the temperature…

Getting Shit Done in Volunteer Management while thinking big and having fun!

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Tonight I sat down at this computer and I looked at my list on what I would write about Volunteer Management. I have already identified topics that I will write about but after picking one and then looking at another I thought many random thoughts. I’ve often talked about the need for Effective Volunteer management but haven’t expanded on what that means
And recently I came across a short but wonderful article from Jeff Weiner who is the CEO at LinkedIn. It had such an impact on me that I shared it in my volunteers newsletter and I have the three statement mantras now on a big whiteboard in my office.
Here is what Jeff had to say on https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140824235337-22330283-the-three-qualities-of-people-i-most-enjoy-working-with
"Several weeks ago, I shared the above Venn diagram in astatus update. With 20k+ likes and comments on LinkedIn and over 2.2k retweets and favorites on Twitter, it's become the most viral update I've shared to date. As a res…

15 Years and 15 reasons why International Volunteer Managers Day Matters.

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November 5th marks the 15th year anniversary of IVMD. Personally I ask myself “where has that time gone?” its gone fast that’s for sure. They say time goes fast when you are busy. If that’s truly the case the life of a Volunteer Manager goes as fast as a rocket through space!
Here are 15 reasons why I think Volunteer Managers Day still matters
1.It’s a day for society to pause and think about Volunteer Management. What is Volunteer Management? What does it encompass? If it attracts a few people across the globe that has no idea what Volunteer Management is about then it is doing its job. It adds to the narrative on Volunteer Management
2.It helps highlight a sector that still has little recognition or understanding in society. Some will disagree with this point. Note the word “little”. Once there was no recognition and understanding of Volunteer Management in society. The fact that we have gotten to “little” is progress. Progress no matter how small is still progress.
3.It is a day for…

Back Blogging and my Top Ten reasons for doing so

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It’s been well over a year since I last blogged. As inundated as I was by the 1435 emails in total asking why I had not blogged recently or where had I gone I had decided to take a hiatus. There were a few reasons and I’ll be honest with you my blog reader or fan (both of you)
1.Life got very busy: Kids. Work. Theatre. Social life. Enough to silence any blogger.
2.Disenchantment: a feeling that the Volunteer Management sector was going around in circles and going nowhere and I was getting dizzy.
3.Health; Not the best of years.
So 3 real reasons. I’m not doing too badly now to those 504 people who are about to post a comment if I am OK. And my sarcasm has not been dented at all.
But suffice to say I am back on my horse and those Sacred Cows of our sector should be shaking in their boots. I have much to say.
Nearly a quarter of a million page views have made this blog and I am looking forward to passing that mark soon.  Here are some of the topics I plan on covering in the next 12 mont…

How has Volunteering made a difference to your life?

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